5 Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid
Effective resumes feature killer content, consistent formatting, and an attractive design. Careless mistakes, lack of detail, and general sloppiness can hurt your chances of making it to the interview, even if you're fully qualified for the position. Here are five common resume mistakes to avoid – and tips on how to keep them out of your resume.
1. Grammatical Errors and Typos
By the time you finish writing, editing, and tweaking your resume, it's easy to gloss over misspellings and grammatical errors. However, those mistakes can make you seem careless to a hiring manager. Correctable slipups send the message to potential employers that you lack attention to detail and don't check your work. It's a surefire way to torpedo your chances of securing the job you want.
Good writers follow a simple rule: everyone needs an editor. The simplest way to combat spelling and other errors is to have someone qualified give your resume the once-over. You can also ask a family member or friend to read through your resume and look for any errors. To a fresh set of eyes, spelling mistakes and grammar issues will leap off the page, and a second opinion can be invaluable on your resume.
2. Being Vague
When listing your experience, you want to show both what you've done and what you've achieved. Not everyone has a shelf full of awards, and most hiring managers don't expect them. However, if you've helped create value, reduced inefficiency, cut costs, or increased the bottom line, be sure to say so.
Some people may counsel you to phrase all your duties as accomplishments, but we recommend a more natural mix of what you've done and how you've helped your previous employers. When in doubt, keep it simple and be specific by using data and metrics.
3. Too Many Needless Details
Knowing which details to cut can be tough. Start by removing any information that is irrelevant to the job description. Extraneous information includes professional and educational experiences that don't apply to the position. This "padding" won't help you secure the job, and it can obscure your relevant experience and credentials.
Again, customize your resume each time you apply for a position. Look at the job ad and include the skills and experience it calls for prominently. Doing so will require a few minutes of editing each resume, but the extra time will pay off. A tailored resume shows initiative.
4. Lack of Focus
Employers screen your resume in as few as six seconds, so make sure your professional summary sums up your abilities in a few sentences. Include a short description below your header – one or two sentences is ideal – that draws in the reader and showcases your abilities and talents.
5. Too Long or Too Short
Too often, job seekers with a decade or more of professional experience will cram all that experience into a one-page resume. On the flip side, jobseekers with less — or even zero — relevant professional experience will try to find a way to fill multiple pages. A rule of thumb is to have one resume page per decade of work experience.